Cameras helped cut accidents: Traffic Police

The mobile speed camera deployed in Seletar Link, a hot spot for illegal racing. Two others have yet to be deployed. The cameras are part of a new targeted approach to curb speeding.
The mobile speed camera deployed in Seletar Link, a hot spot for illegal racing. Two others have yet to be deployed. The cameras are part of a new targeted approach to curb speeding.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Fewer accidents due to speeding and running red lights last year; new mobile camera being used

Cameras that catch motorists who speed or run red lights helped to reduce the number of related road accidents last year, said the Traffic Police.

There were 169 accidents due to motorists running red lights last year, down from 223 in 2014, according to figures released yesterday. Accidents caused by speeding fell to 1,197 from 1,363.

The Traffic Police have now come up with a mobile version of their speed cameras that can be deployed anywhere within a week.

The bright orange mobile speed camera is equipped with its own power source. It takes up space of about 1.5 sq m and can cover five lanes, tracking up to 32 vehicles simultaneously. It is part of a new targeted approach to curb speeding.

The cameras, which are digital, will be used at notorious speeding spots and areas where illegal races have taken place.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Sam Tee, commander of the Traffic Police, said three such cameras have been bought so far and there are plans to procure more.

The first was deployed on Monday in Seletar Link, a hot spot for illegal racing. The other two have not yet been deployed.

The cameras can run round-the- clock and transmit pictures wirelessly, eliminating the need to retrieve film negatives.

There are 240 existing digital cameras at traffic junctions and 20 in areas to catch speedsters.

"Every time a driver sees an orange pole, it triggers his sense of safety and he will slow down," said AC Tee. "These visual signs go a long way in reinforcing a safety culture."

Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay said the mobile speed cameras will give the Traffic Police more flexibility in enforcement.

"The police cannot be everywhere all the time. You can use cameras like these to deter people from committing crimes - and when the numbers come down, you can deploy them elsewhere."

Motorists believe the new cameras will make drivers more cautious.

"When drivers see a speed camera, the natural instinct is to brake," said taxi driver Ben Lim, 40.

Traffic Police figures showed that 152 people died on the roads last year, three fewer than in 2014 - a continuation of a downward trend in the past five years.

Drink-driving accidents also declined - to 134 from 182 in 2014.

But the number of injuries and fatal accidents involving speeding vehicles has gone up.

Last year, there were 8,021 injury accidents, up almost 3 per cent from 7,809 cases in 2014.

Fatal speeding accidents rose to 48 last year, from 43 in 2014.

But AC Tee said overall road safety has improved, and suggested that another factor could be the increased use of in-car cameras and smartphones, which can capture evidence of offences and help to "police the roads".

The Traffic Police e-feedback portal receives an average of 500 videos and images each month.

Also, some drivers are going back to school after committing traffic offences.

The Safe Driving Course, launched in November last year and conducted at all three driving schools here, helps to correct dangerous road behaviour. Those who complete the course get three demerit points deducted from their driving records.

As of Jan 1 this year, 1,780 motorists have completed it.

"More motorists are obeying red-light signals and speed limits," said AC Tee. "We would like to thank these conscientious motorists for playing their part in keeping our roads safe."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2016, with the headline 'Cameras helped cut accidents: Traffic Police'. Print Edition | Subscribe